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Mount Polley operations were suspended in May 2019, and the mine is on care & maintenance status. Extensive remediation work in the areas affected by the 2014 breach has been achieved during the past six years. The mine’s closure will not impact the ongoing environmental monitoring and remediation programs.
In 2020, Mount Polley acquired an option to earn a 100% interest in seven mineral claims (3,331 ha) adjacent to the mine. Three target settings occur within the optioned claims and adjacent Mount Polley claims, including a potential northern projection of the high-grade Quarry zone beneath a post-mineral conglomerate unit, a partially tested glacial till covered area where regional magnetics suggests a faulted offset of the Mount Polley Intrusive complex, which hosts the Mount Polley orebodies, is present and a till covered prospective area immediately east of the Southeast zone. A deep looking IP survey, along with a soil sampling program, was completed over the optioned claims. A similar IP survey was conducted over the Mount Polley mine site to identify the geophysical response of the known mineralization to aid in prioritizing targets on the Frypan/Morehead area. The survey consisted of 81.5 line km and was successful in delineating the known mineralization, as well as outlining several new un-tested areas in the vicinity of the mine.
The 2020 exploration program was planned to test the targets outlined on the optioned claims and to expand the copper and gold resource near historic deposits, with a focus on gold rich zones. The drill program set out to improve drill hole data density of mineralization near the historic mining areas where the use of underground mining is being considered, and to drill new geophysical and geochemical anomalies outlined by recent surveys in the Trio Creek area located north and northwest of the mine. Six drill holes totalling 3,792 metres were completed.
The WX zone is the most recent major discovery (2009) at Mount Polley. Located south of the Springer pit, it is noted for its high gold grades and high gold/copper ratio mineralization.Drill hole WX-20-78 was designed test and confirm the continuity of the mineralization in an area of proposed underground mining.Drilled down the plunge, this hole served to confirm the continuity of this modelled higher grade target within the WX zone.
The C2 zone is located south of the Cariboo pit. Two holes were drilled to test a zone of higher gold grade along the Polley fault at depth. Historic drilling in this zone yielded an intercept of 55 metres grading 2.14 g/t gold and 1.19% copper in drill hole C2-11-97.Both holes were successful in extending this lower gold zone.
Drill hole SD-20-162 was designed to fill a gap in drilling on the eastern side of the target area beneath the Springer pit. The Springer zone contains most of the reserves in the current open pit mine plan. Historic drilling beneath the currently planned Springer pit confirmed the mineralization continues for at least 250 metres below the pit bottom. Studies are underway to evaluate the potential for bulk underground mining beneath the planned pit.
The Trio Creek target area is located north and northwest of the mine. This area is covered by glacial till with limited bedrock exposure. Using new geophysical and geochemical anomalies outlined by recent surveys, the goal was to gain an understanding of the geological system. Drill holes TC-20-01 and TC-20-02 were designed to test new anomalies north and west of the mine. The targeted areas feature favorable geophysics that match the geophysical fingerprint of the Mount Polley mineralized host rock. Drill holes TC-20-01 and TC-20-02 have defined a clear extension to the north of similar geology and associated hydrothermal alteration zones to that which hosts the mineralization at Mount Polley. Additional exploration is planned to further define these targets.
Outlook for 2021 includes an update to the mine restart plan prepared in 2019, which will include revised pit designs, results of recent drilling, and current metal prices.
Mount Polley is an open pit copper/gold mine with an underground component located in south-central British Columbia, 56 kilometres northeast of Williams Lake. The property encompasses 20,113 hectares, comprised of seven mining leases totalling 2,007 hectares, and 46 mineral claims encompassing 18,106 hectares. Mount Polley mine is owned and operated by Mount Polley Mining Corporation (MPMC), a subsidiary of Imperial.
For additional information, refer to the Company’s New Releases, Quarter Reports & Annual Information Form.